Jamia’s Outreach Programme, in association with the department of English organized a session of book readings, on Thursday, Jan. 20, 2011.
The readings in the session were by Tania James and H.M. Naqvi, both short-listed for the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature 2011, from their respective novels nominated for the prize.
The session was held at the Dayar-I Mir Taqi Mir Hall, which was open to all, and saw active participation from students and faculty from the English department.
Malashri Lal, professor in the Department of English, University of Delhi, and currently associated with the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature, London and New Delhi, also attended the event. The reading session was followed with an interactive session between the authors and the audience.
H.M. Naqvi, a Karachi based Pakistani writer, nominated for his novel “Home Boy” began the session in a dominating voice and all were ears to him. He ended his passage and an applause from the audience followed.
“I don’t write drafts,” Naqvi replied when quizzed about his way of writing. “I cannot continue,” he added, “to the next sentence, next word or next page if I am not satisfied at my last juncture.”
When asked if the words and sentences he created came to him spontaneously or was it a long-driven thought process, he answered that “First few sentences, paragraphs were spontaneous,” for others he said he had to “sit like a craftsman and think over what to write.”
Then it was Tania James’ turn to read.
James is an American writer based in Washington D.C. She read the introduction to her novel, “Atlas of Unknowns” with an American accent.
James referring to her novel said that she never intended it to be a sister novel, but there was something specific in this form as tension can build up between the two sisters, thus improving the plot and the storyline.
“I recognize there are a lot of books with two sisters as protagonists,” she said.
When James was asked by one of the students if paintings and windows used in her novels were used more like metaphors: she replied jokingly, “No, but I like [it] when people ask me such questions. It makes me feel smart.”
Dr. Baran Farooqi, an associate professor in the department of English, wished both, Naqvi and James, good luck for the literature prize and the Jaipur Literature Festival, for which they were leaving later the same day, and with that brought the session to an end.
Later students and faculty members lined up to interact with the authors on a more personal, one-to-one basis.
Scenes from the Event